Saturday, September 26, 2009

Trip Report - Delta Tampa to Seattle (NW metal)

On trip back to Seattle, I flew on Northwest via Minneapolis. The TPA-MSP flight was on a Northwest A319. The first class cabin had been "refreshed" with the Delta Blue leather seat covers, but the seats are still the very old Northwest seats.

These seats seemed like they were leftovers from the old DC-10s. No audio or Video on this aircraft either. Another annoying feature was the "curtain" behind row 4 separating the cabins. Its really just some leather draped from the overhead -- no real bulkhead, so avoid row 4 if you can.


Flight attendants were friendly and served a cold cereal tray -- almost exactly like the Delta flight, but this time it was Cheerios and no hot meal option. The Northwest inflight service is still done with rolling the carts in the first class aisle.

My connecting flight was a Northwest 757-300. Again, it had the Delta leather covers over some very old first class seats. Seats 1AB in first class do have a foot cut-out as you can see below. There is video on this aircraft.



The inflight service was very friendly, with a choice of a hot chicken sandwich (with WAY too much cheese) or a Fajita Chicken Salad. I chose the salad -- it was just ok. The chicken looked a bit unappetizing, but tasted fajita-ish. The salad had too much cheese and onion on it however. The best part was the Pecan Brownie in the package -- it was really good.


Pretty good flights on Northwest, the flight attendants are still Northwest-only at this point. The Northwest/Delta areas of the MSP airport are half renovated with the F Gates still in pretty sad shape. The H gates have been completely redone with new carpet.

Hopefully Delta will get some Video equipment and upgrade the First Class seats on the old Northwest airplanes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trip Report - Delta Seattle to Tampa (DL metal)

Lots of changes at Delta since I last flew them on this same route:

- They bought Northwest Airlines
- Continued upgrades in Audio-Video equipment and inflight wi-fi
- Plus the consolidated all Sea-tac operations in the South Satellite (Boo!)

With Delta buying Northwest, they have been busy consolidating Airport Operations around the Globe. Some of these airport changes are easy - in SFO they were on the same concourse already and some of these changes mean Delta moves locations in the airport. In Seattle, Delta decided to leave the very nice semi-brand new, open and bright Concourse A to the rather dumpy, tram access-only South Satellite.
So they probably made this move since NWA still has a daily NRT flight and the South Satellite has the only Custom Facilities at Sea-Tac, plus I am not sure there are enough open gates on A without moving others around. Still, its just a shame that the move means that Delta left some very nice gates (and new-ish Crowne Room). Concouse A also has MUCH easier access to the terminal and Alaska Gates. Ok, my South Satellite rant is over.

One good thing for Delta in Seattle is that they still have a morning 767-300 flight to Atlanta. This is (by far) the nicest way to fly to Atlanta- otherwise its a 757, 737 or narrow-body Airbus connection. Today's aircraft was the Domestic 767-300 with seatback video and inflight wi-fi. The First Class seats had a USB port and RJ-jack -- both are REALLY hidden from view on the lower front of the middle section between the seats. Not sure anyone will know these are there.

View from Seat 3c on Delta 767-300:

The inflight service was extremely well done - it was almost like all the flight attendants were told to make this one flight the best ever (seriously). All the flight attendants were very nice and welcoming, even at the 6am boarding time. They were usually visible throughout the flight, unlike some other Delta flights I have taken. Not sure if this was a "one off" inflight experience or if its a real effort by Delta to improve the inflight experience. In any case, it really helped make the flight enjoyable, rather than annoying.

First Class Breakfast options were the traditional Delta Eggs and Links meal or Raisin Bran+Fruit+Yogurt. I opted for the cereal this time...it was fine and a good "light" option compared to the egg dish.



We landed in ATL about 30 mins late (due to baggage loading delays in SEA). To make matters worse, the ATL Gate agent was really slow to bring up the jetbridge to the plane. So we all waited in the crowded aisles hoping to make our now very tight connections.

My connecting flight from ATL to Tampa was on an odd 757 aircraft. It had the big blue first class seats - but no seatback video and the bathroom was "original" -- making me think this was one of the ex-TWA 757s. There was inflight Wi-Fi, but its only a 1 hour flight so I didnt opt to use it.

View from Seat 6C on Delta 757-200 (maybe ex-TWA):

Inflight service was well done with a cheery inflight. The service was drinks and the Delta first class basket of goodies. I hope Delta knows that the first class basket of items is so much better than just throwing a bag of peanuts at folks. Its one of those small things that makes Delta First Class much better than United or US Airways.



Looking forward to my flight home on NWA to see how things have changed there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Double Elite Miles - Fall 2009

Its that time again...here are some of the current Double Elite Frequent Flyer deals:

Southwest - Registration Required
Added: Sept 17, 2009

Southwest Airlines announced today that Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program Members who register for the Double Credit promotion, book a flight, and travel between Sept. 17 and Oct. 31, 2009, will receive one bonus Rapid Rewards credit per one-way flight--no matter where they fly. By taking advantage of this promotion, Members can rack up four credits when traveling a single roundtrip from any city that Southwest serves. Customers will be able to earn a free flight after four roundtrips during the promotional period (after receiving a total of 16 credits).

To take advantage of this special offer, simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Register for this promotion between September 17 and October 31, 2009.
Step 2: Book a flight for yourself at southwest.com or swabiz.com between September 17 and October 31, 2009 for travel between September 17 and October 31, 2009.
Step 3: Complete your travel between September 17 and October 31, 2009.

To register, click here


US Airways - No registration required
Added: Sept 16,2009

Note: The AWA..er..US Airways offer is not exactly Double Elite miles

Get ready for the fastest, easiest way ever to get (or keep) Preferred status. Just fly between October 1 and December 25, 2009 on any US Airways or US Airways Express flight, and you'll earn Preferred status faster than ever before. The more you fly, the more you'll earn. Think of it as an end-of-the-year shortcut.

Here’s how it works:
Fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments and earn Silver Preferred status
Fly 15,000 miles or 20 segments and earn Gold Preferred status
Fly 22,500 miles or 30 segments and earn Platinum Preferred status
Fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments and earn Chairman’s Preferred status

We’ll determine and award your Preferred status on January 10, 2010. You don't need to register (we'll keep track of your flights). We told you it was easy!

 Don’t worry, the miles you fly will also count towards the total miles you flew for the year – you’ll be awarded the highest status between the two. So if you fly 55,000 Preferred miles for the year but only end up flying 8,000 Preferred miles during the promotion period, you’ll still earn Gold status for the year.

More info, click here


Continental Airlines - Registration Required
Added: Sept. 9, 2009

Earn Elite status twice as fast when you earn double Elite Qualifying Miles for eligible flights from Sept. 9 through Dec. 15th, 2009. Simply register for the promotion with the code provided and you'll earn double Elite Qualifying Miles for all qualifying travel.

Registration is required. Account must be registered by Dec. 15, 2009 to be eligible for the offer.
Offer valid for qualifying travel flown between Sept. 9 and Dec. 15, 2009.
Bonus Elite Qualifying Miles will be credited weekly after the segment has posted.
Offer valid on flights operated by Continental, Continental Express*, Continental Micronesia, Continental Connection, Copa Airlines and AeroRep├║blica and is not applicable on code-share flights operated by other carriers.

To Register, click here


United Airlines - Registration Required
Added: Sept. 3, 2009

Earn double elite qualifying miles OR double elite qualifying segments

Offer:
A special opportunity to help you retain elite status or earn a higher level. Earn your choice of either double Elite Qualifying Miles* (EQM) or double Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) on qualifying United® or United Express® flights.

Travel dates:
September 3 - December 15, 2009
Registration dates:
September 3 - December 15, 2009

To Register, click here


American Airlines - Registration Required
Added: Sept. 2, 2009

Starting today, American Airlines frequent flyers will be able to enjoy two special promotions geared toward putting them on a priority path to AAdvantage Gold®, AAdvantage Platinum® or AAdvantage Executive Platinum® status, along with the opportunity to select from a list of great extra rewards in recognition of their loyalty.

The Double Elite-Qualifying Miles promotion allows customers to earn twice the elite status qualifying miles when they fly on American Airlines, American Eagle, and AmericanConnection between Sept. 2, and Dec. 15, 2009. That means they'll be able to reach elite status faster than normal, either for the first time or enabling them to re-qualify now for their current status through February 2011. Customers who qualify based on elite-qualifying miles need to accumulate 25,000 elite-qualifying miles for AAdvantage Gold status; 50,000 miles for AAdvantage Platinum; and 100,000 miles for AAdvantage Executive Platinum in a calendar year. For more information regarding qualifying for AAdvantage elite status, visit www.aa.com/elitestatus.

Furthermore, the Elite Rewards promotion gives American's most loyal flyers the opportunity to add to the valuable benefits they already receive as an AAdvantage elite status member - and they can get there faster by combining this with American's Double Elite-Qualifying Miles offer. The special rewards vary based on the customer's elite status level as of Dec. 31, 2009. Here are the details:

  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum members who earn 125,000 or more elite-qualifying miles or points during 2009 will be eligible to select two of the following rewards: two one-way Systemwide Upgrades; one 1-Year Admirals Club® membership; 25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles; and/or the opportunity to reward a friend with AAdvantage Gold status for one year.
  • AAdvantage Platinum members who earn 75,000 - 99,999 elite-qualifying miles or points during 2009 will be eligible to select one of the following rewards: four 500-mile upgrades; two Admirals Club One-Day passes; 15,000 AAdvantage bonus miles; or the opportunity to reward a friend with AAdvantage Gold status for one year.
  • AAdvantage Gold members who earn 40,000 - 49,999 elite-qualifying miles or points during 2009 will be eligible to select one of the following rewards: two 500-mile upgrades; one set of luggage tags; one Admirals Club One-Day Pass; or 7,500 AAdvantage bonus miles.

To register and obtain more information regarding these two special offers, visit www.aa.com/elite.

Expect more airlines to follow suit soon!